• Southern Cross
  • Alpha Centauri
  • Beta Centauri
  • South Celestial Pole

Night Sky in the Outback

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A 4-hour nighttime exposure of the southern sky at Bea Creek camp, just east of Tom Price, in Western Australia. Set the camera up, clicked the button, and went to bed.

It appears as if all of the stars in the night sky are rotating around. In actuality, it is the Earth which is rotating underneath the stars. But since my camera is fixed to Earth, we get the illusion of celestial rotation. Since the stars made about 1/6 of a circle in the sky, the exposure lasted 1/6 x 24 hours = 4 hours. The shutter stayed open until the batteries gave out.

The color and capturing the Southern Celestial Pole in the sky (the spot around which all of the stars seem to be rotating) were beautiful surprises. If you look carefully, you can spot the Southern Cross (Crux) just above the treeline.

The Southern Cross is one of the most recognizable constellations in the southern hemisphere. You'll find it on the flags of Australia and New Zealand. In the picture, the Southern Cross is on its side. The top of the cross is at about 4 o'clock, while the bottom is at about 10 o'clock. Click here for the marked up photo and a short astronomy lesson.

This guy also has a pretty good diagram.

yonas1, Computer Science Geek, and 118 other people added this photo to their favorites.

View 20 more comments

  1. bbaril888 72 months ago | reply

    this is amazing. I love it.

  2. ni2s 69 months ago | reply

    This is so cool....
    i like it very much!

  3. Andrew Roesch-Knapp 69 months ago | reply

    fabulous composition. film kills it!

  4. Adarsh Padegal 68 months ago | reply

    amazing experiment..

  5. Kyaw Photography 67 months ago | reply

    Woah... this is so cool...
    how long did it take u ?

  6. Aisha Adam 67 months ago | reply

    stunning shot

  7. Steffen und Christina 65 months ago | reply

    Wow! You did awesome work here! Very beautiful.

  8. scherer.fotografias 62 months ago | reply

    hi, im dying to get a shot like this.. congratulations.. how do you calculate the exposure? thanks for showing us

  9. spinfly 62 months ago | reply

    Like I say in the description, it was complete luck...

    I've since tried to take pictures like this without much luck. Too much light pollution in the sky around here.

  10. raiggggggg [deleted] 61 months ago | reply

    SO SICK! This shot is amazing. What aperature were you using?

  11. spinfly 61 months ago | reply

    Wide open, probably around f/1.8. Had to, because I was also using 100 ISO film...

  12. Maurice┃Chen 60 months ago | reply


    Great Shot!!
    Please consider to join Star Track on Film, thanks!!

  13. Raj Kunkolienkar (Astro56) 56 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Landscape Astrophotography, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  14. Håkon1981 47 months ago | reply

    I have made a group for star trails where only film is used. Please upload your photo! www.flickr.com/groups/1368371@N20/

  15. Warner Strauss 47 months ago | reply

    Absolute Fav.
    Nice work!

  16. Sandy Austin 29 months ago | reply

    Pretty impressive, Jeff. Amazing outcome.
    Seen in www.flickr.com/groups/adlerskywatch/

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